Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Train (wreck) kept-a-rollin'

I was working on a post about the bass playing on Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" and wasn't really satisfied with my writing. The tone was wrong. So I amused myself by finding "bass lessons" on YouTube. Hilarious, as always. But I also found this curiosity:

They've been playing this for 37 years how could they possibly screw it up this badly?

Ok, so...Tom Hamilton's bass sounds like ass. His tone, as it turns out, is also wrong. And he has phones on his bass. And the dude looks like a lady. (I'm sorry. Not that sorry, really.) BUT. What the hell happens at 1:31? The drums are a beat late! And any performer, musical or otherwise, knows that the next question...whether spoken or not...is...

(And I know, we're supposed to work through these moments together. As a team. Or as a family (barf). But come on. We all wanna point fingers. Don't deny it...)

Who is to blame?????????

NOT Tom Hamilton. He's a champ. Steady throughout this mess (other than the beginning, I guess--though I think Joey Kramer started too fast). And he quickly adjusts to this weirdness. So what is happening here? Here's my analysis.

0:26 Bass enters, considerably slower than the drums.

0:50 Joe Perry comes in with his Talk Box junk. But it sounds really weird, like something is wrong with the tube. Or his mouth.

1:17 Steven and Tom are staring at Joe Perry, like "What the fuck, man??" This is also the moment when Joey Kramer hits the bass drum on beat 2 instead of beat 1. So someone was trying to readjust the whole thing. I'm guessing Steven Tyler did this.

1:20 Steven Tyler is glaring at Joe Perry! Awesome rock star shit, here.

1:23 Joe Perry looks...really lost/confused.

1:31 This is when anyone that's paying attention has some real fun. WHOOOOOAAAAAAA, here we go!

1:38 Steven Tyler is...trying to settle/slow down the tempo? I'm not sure. There seems to be disagreement about the tempo from the start, actually. The best part is Brad Whitford noodling stage right the whole time, in the dark and shaking his head. I assume. I've always figured that was his role in a band led by a couple of clowns.

It's a harrowing minute and a half for me. Fascinating and uncomfortable to watch. So what happened? Here are my guesses.

-Joe Perry was out of it for whatever reason. However, Steven Tyler overcompensated by cuing the wrong downbeat after following Joe Perry's meandering Talk Box stuff. Gurgle Box, more like it.
-Joe Perry couldn't hear the bass in his monitor.
-Joey Kramer couldn't hear the bass in his monitor.

That was in order of likelihood. But I also think that Steven Tyler tried to be the boss and made things worse. Shame on Joey Kramer for taking orders when he had it right all along. And kudos to Tom Hamilton for hanging in there, junk tone or not. But wow, even after the botched intro, a muddled, TERRIBLE performance. And the Talk Box never sounds right.

And if you make it to 4:45...the burning speaker cab thing is the dumbest gimmick I've seen in a long time.

It's hard being an Aerosmith apologist. Very hard, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Dude I frickin' love Aevosmiff he made his amp go on fiya!